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Full Circle

Day 175: San Pedro de Atacama

Chilean Andes 
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Steam bath at 14,000 feet. El Tatio geysers, Chilean Andes.
Michael Palin - Full CircleFor breakfast we have eggs à la fumarole - eggs boiled in a blow-hole. Afterwards I walk a little way up the mountain where clumps of spiky corion grass, and not much else, grow. A great gusher of steam issues from an opening in the mountainside and I stand above it, enveloped in the cleansing, comforting billows of natural energy. Look around, marvelling at the richness of colour and texture that the sunlight has revealed in a land that half an hour ago was dead.

At the end of a long day's drive of great beauty we find ourselves at another hotel, comparing notes, not on the glories of the day, but on how much sleep we all lost last night as the schoolgirls swept in out of the desert.

We have spoken too soon. The ominous hiss of air brakes cuts the night air and the familiar sound of high-pitched female laughter is not far behind.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 175
  • Country/sea: Chile
  • Place: San Pedro de Atacama
  • Book page no: 232

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